The Mile High City is a beautiful playground of fun, education, and culture. From the national league sports teams and incredible stadiums to the historical sites dating back to the Gold Rush and beyond, Denver has the variety you've been looking for. But with all that variety, sometimes it gets hard to choose where to stay, play, and eat. That's what we're here for, so sit back and just imagine how wonderful a group trip to Denver could be!
Denver is kind of a year-round destination, bringing in the traditional tourists in the summer and the winter sports enthusiasts in the winter. However, there are high and low seasons for the Mile High city that drive up prices and crowds. April through May and September through October are your best bet for nice weather (though maybe a little rain) plus fewer crowds and lower prices. June through August is usually the most crowded season with temperatures that often reach higher than 90 degrees. Winter, though it brings in the skiers and snowboarders, is generally considered to be the low season as prices drop alongside visitor numbers.
Whenever you choose to come to Denver, you still have a multitude of hotels to choose from. Depending on your group budget and dynamic, you may want to look further outside of downtown Denver. The closer to downtown you get, the more expensive the hotels become. Instead, look to the surrounding neighborhoods like Westminster and Thornton north of the city, though there are some picks in Lakewood and Aurora. There are plenty of hotels that you can snag for under $100 during the shoulder season.
As with any vacation, totally unplanned touring can ruin any budget. With this in mind, we'd suggest picking one admission-charging attraction per day and enjoying free attractions for the remainder of your stay. There are enough to go around! Below is a collection of top Denver attractions arranged according to their admission:
- Colorado State Capitol (free) - See everything from the history of Colorado to the ongoing legislation from the active cabinets!
- Union Station (free-$$) - Free to tour the many shops and cafes inside the historic station.
- Dinosaur Ridge (free-$) - A hiking trail covered in dinosaur tracks! The trails themselves are free but you'll have to pay to see the indoor exhibits or get a shuttle tour.
- Colorado State Sports Hall of Fame (free) - Located at Mile High Stadium, home of the Broncos.
- Denver U.S. Mint (free) - Take a free tour to see how money was made in Denver.
- Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater (free-$$) - The free Visitor Center has plenty of exhibits plus nature trails to explore the park and stay to see an outdoor concert.
- Hammond's Candy Factory (free) - A free factory tour for candy lovers of all ages!
- Cherry Creek State Park (free) - Free recreational activity in the beautiful Colorado landscapes.
- Denver Museum of Nature and Science ($-$$$) - A wonderful natural history museum with an IMAX and planetarium!
- Denver Botanic Gardens ($$) - Take a relaxing and inspiring stroll through themed gardens!
- Molly Brown House ($) - Visit the home of the Unsinkable Molly Brown.
- Downtown Aquarium ($$) - Discover the magic of the underwater world!
- Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum ($$) - Aircraft exhibits and aerospace displays make this museum a fascinating visit.
- Elitch Gardens Theme Park ($$$) - A fun, historic amusement park practically in the middle of downtown Denver!
- Denver Zoo ($$) - Who doesn't love visiting the zoo and seeing all the exotic animals?
Eating is one of the most anticipated parts of any vacation. Let loose and try some of the best foods in the city, discover something new, and relax with some truly delicious flavors. Depending on your budget, you can try the creative concoctions from the most high-end restaurants or the innovative cuisines of even the food trucks. There is such range in Denver that it's almost insane.
Panzano ($-$$$) is one such high-end restaurant with authentic Italian cuisine, located in the Hotel Monaco. Their luxurious dishes include gnocchi con Coniglio, lasagna, and pastiche on the dinner menu plus a whole array of delicious Northern Italian foods on the brunch, lunch, and gluten-free menus. Just as delicious and a little less pricey is Acorn ($$), a new American cuisine establishment in the Five Points neighborhood with a yummy kale apple salad and tomato braised meatballs.
For more affordable options, try the locally famous Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs, the Crock Spot food truck, and Torta Grill's Mexican cuisine. The Thai Monkey Club serves up scrumptious Thai and gluten-free meals, as does Pho 95 and its Vietnamese soups. There are a variety of spots with affordable eats all around downtown Denver so simply go on a walk and poke your head inside the one with the best atmosphere and the most delicious aromas. You can't go wrong!